Have you ever been an avid viewer of a show, missed an episode and suddenly realized how insubstantial it was to you? That’s what happened between myself, The Voice and X Factor. The feats pulled by the producers and judges to exploit the contestants for ratings had stepped on my last nerve. Additionally, my attention was already drifting, thanks to better-scripted TV like Scandal and Once Upon A Time and my anticipation for American Idol. However, I don’t like leaving anything incomplete, so I feel slightly obligated to review the remainder of the season.
Nathalie Hernandez instantly grabbed Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton’s attention with her shaky rendition of Taylor Swift’s “White Horse.” Like me, Cee Lo Green was never moved, by Adam Levine soon turned around.
Like many contestants before him, Cody Belew sang better than some of the other contestants that sailed through, but the judges were unmoved for whatever reason. Cee Lo enjoyed his rocking rendition of The Black Crowes’ “Hard To Handle” and was the sole judge to turn around for the guy who was an elderly black lady in his past life (his words not mine). His reaction to realizing he made it to the battle rounds was priceless.
Team Cee Lo
Kayla Nevarez, 17, impressively delivered a jazzy-pop rendition of Estelle’s “American Boy.” All the judges turned around to relish in the excitement, except Blake. As ever with the young girls, Adam swooned her on his team.
46-year-old grandfather Rudy Parris is a seasoned rocker, and it showed with his country-tingued cover of The Police’s “Every Breath You Take.” He got pitchy during the second-half of the song, but it wasn’t something to deter Blake or Cee Lo.
Nicole Johnson bravely covered a recent song, a common misstep among singing competition contestants. Luckily, she made the Kelly Clarkson’s “Mr. Know It All” her own by adding some Nashville spice. Although Cee Lo turned around first, she chose Blake as her mentor. I’m shocked.
Celica Westbrook may be 16, but you wouldn’t know due to the maturity in her voice and look. She impressively showed off her vocals with Christina Perry’s “A Thousand Years.” Did it astound the judges, though? Yes; all except Adam.
Perky Jersey girl Chevonne gave a feisty rendition of The Pretenders “Brass In Pocket.” Judges Cee Lo and Blake were slow about turning around, but they were eventually moved. Better late than never, right?
Team Cee Lo
When one effectively covers Florence+The Machine and gives me a version of their song sans the excessive vibrato, I’m a happy camper. Caitlin Michele did this with “Cosmic Love.” Granted, Caitlin’s rendition was a dramatic and… weird, but it was good overall. Blake called Adam a “motherf*cker” for turning around, and the panic-stricken beauty took refuge with Adam.
Team Adam: Brian Keith, Joe Kirkland, Samuel Mouton, Loren Allred, Nicolle Nelson, Melanie Martinez, Brian Scartocci, Alessandra Guercio, Adanna Duru, Collin McLoughlin, Michelle Brooks-Thompson, Sam James, Brandon Mahone, Kayla Nevarez, Caitlin Michele
Team Blake: Terry McDermott, Gracia Harrison, Casey Muessigmann, Julio Cesar Castillo, 2 Steel Girls, Liz Davis, Kelly Crapa, Suzanna Choffel, Michaela Page, Ryan Jirovec, Lelia Broussard, Terisa Griffin, Charlie Rey, Cassadee Pope, Rudy Parris, Nicole Johnson
Team Cee Lo: Daniel Rosa, Trevin Hunte, Mackenzie Bourg, Domo, JR Aquino, Nicholas David, Avery Wilson, Todd Kessler, Ben Taub, Emily Earle, Benji, Mycle Wastman, Diego Val, Alexis Marceaux, Amanda Brown, Cody Belew, Chevonne
Team Christina: De’Borah, Adriana Louise, Aquile, Nelly’s Echo, Lisa Scinta, MarissaAnn, Beat Frequency, Paulina, Joselyn Rivera, Dez Duron, Laura Vivas, Jordan Pruitt, Sylvia Yacoub, Nathalie Hernandez, Celica Westbrook
Episode 8 wrapped up the exhausting live auditions. Next up were the battle rounds. The following list is in no particular order.
Bryan Keith vs. Collin McLoughlin – Sublime’s “Santeria”
Steal: Collin to Team Blake
Melanie Martinez vs. Caitlin Michele – Ellie Goulding’s “Lights”
Note: This was like Amy Lee meets Lana Del Rey–mystical.
Steal: Caitlin to Team Cee Lo
Benji vs. Sam James – Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love A Bad Name”
Brandon Mahone vs. Nicole Nelson – “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”
Note: Granted, Nicole definitely boasts the better voice, but Brandon deserved a steal.
Brian Scartocci vs. Loren Allred – “Need You Now”
Samuel Mouton vs. Joe Kirkland – “You Get What You Give”
Terry McDermott vs. Casey Muessigmann – Kansas’ “Carry on Wayward Son”
Gracia Harrison vs. 2 Steel Girls – Dixie Chicks’ “Sin Wagon”
Note: The mom was much more entertaining than her daughter and Gracia.
Rudy Parris vs. Charlie Rey – “Bad Day”
Lelia vs. Suzanna Choffel – Florence+The Machine’s “The Dog Days Are Over”
Julio Cesar Castillo vs. Terisa Griffin – Miami Sound Machine’s “Conga”
Note: I agree with Terisa; Blake was trying to get rid of her. Clearly the song choice was more favorable for Julio, but Terisa had better moves and a better voice. Adam’s explanation and Blake’s decision for choosing Julio were pure bullsh*t.
Steal: Terisa to Team Cee Lo
Ryan Jirovec vs. Cassadee Pope – “Not Over You”
Kelly Crapa vs. Michaela Paige – Joan Jett’s “I Hate Myself for Loving You”
Note: Both have great voices, but Michaela’s rocker attitude swallowed Kelly’s mellow presence.
Team Cee Lo:
Trevin Hunte vs. Amanda Brown – Mariah Carey’s “Vision of Love”
Note: Trevin got lost in his upper register, and Amanda’s portion of the song was much more superior than Trevin’s. I guess because Trevin is a fan favorite, Christina was obligated to go with him.
Steal: Amanda to Team Adam
Cody Belew vs DOMO – Lady Gaga Ft. Beyoncé “Telephone”
Note: Neither of them did Beyoncé’s bridge justice.
Diego Val vs. JR Aquino – Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl”
Alexis Marceaux vs. Daniel Rosa – Adam Lambert’s “Whataya Want from Me”
Note: Both did great, but Alexis was much more comfortable, less creepy and overall, the better performer.
Avery Wilson vs. Chevonne – David Guetta’s “Titanium”
Note: Both singers were great, but Avery is just in another league vocally. Chevonne knew she was outmatched, as indicated by her random affection for the floor.
Steal: Chevonne to Team Xtina
Nicholas David vs. Todd Kessler – Hall & Oates’ “She’s Gone”
Note: Nicholas is like a white Isaac Hayes. So smooth.
Adriana Louise vs. Jordan Pruitt – Katy Perry’s “Hot n Cold”
Note: Neither of them excelled singing this song. Katy herself can’t sing the song.
Joselyn Rivera vs. Sylvia Yacoub – Beyoncé’s “Best Thing I Never Had”
Note: Both girls incorporated the runs and growls well–for them, of course.
Steal: Joselyn to Team Adam
Devyn DeLoera vs. MarissaAnn – En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind”
Note: Both are beautiful and have stage presence, but neither stood out vocally.
Steal: MarissaAnn to Team Blake
Celica Westbrook vs. Lisa Scinta – “My Life Would Suck Without You”
Aquile vs. Nathalie Hernandez – James Morrison’s “You Give Me Something”
Note: This just wasn’t fair. Nathalie didn’t stand a chance.
De’Borah vs. Nelly’s Echo – The Police’s “Message in a Bottle”
Dez Duron vs. Paulina – Bruno Mars’ “Just The Way You Are”
Note: They both have radio-friendly voices.
Melanie Martinez, Joe Kirkland, Amanda Brown, Sam James, Kayla Nevarez, Joeslyn Rivera, Bryan Keith, Nicole Nelson, Michelle Brooks-Thompson, Loren Allred
Team Blake: Suzanna Choffel, Terry McDermott, Michaela Paige, Rudy Parris, Gracia Harrison, MarissaAnn, Cassadee Pope, Liz Davis, Collin McLoughlin, Julio Cesar Castillo
Team Cee Lo: Caitlin Michele, MacKenzie Bourg, Cody Belew, Diego Val, Avery Wilson, Trevin Hunte, Nicholas David, Terisa Griffin, Mycle Wastman, Daniel Rosa
De’Borah, Dez Duron, Aquile, Chevonne, Celica Westbrook, Adriana Louise, Devyn DeLoera, Alessandra Guercio, Sylvia Yacoub, Laura Vivas